Rambling: Derbyshire White Peak – Circular tour from Leadmill Bridge via Abney, Shatton Lane & Offerton

Walk notes by DWP

The start of this suggested walk is Leadmill Bridge, which is a short walk south from Hathersage, past the Station, along the B6001. If traveling by car there is a small lay-by adjacent to the Plough Inn just beyond the bridge.

Starting from Leadmill Bridge walk south on the B6001 passing the Plough Inn on the left and then take the first turning on the right heading up the hill past Hazelford Hall. Just beyond the Hall at a sharp bend in the lane follow the farm lane above Tor Farm. Keep to the path as it passes through farmland and a number of gates before dropping down into Brook Wood. Cross the stream then take the rising path along the lower slopes of Bole Hill eventually descending towards Stoke Ford. Cross over the Cloughs via the footbridge, walk past the sign and take the footpath up along side Abney Clough and follow this path passing eventually through a stile and then a gate before emerging on a lane that leads into Abney. Follow the short lane and turn left along the village main street and just before the telephone box turn right up Duper Lane and follow this until it reaches open moorland. (Road and Duper Lane can be viewed on Google Maps, Streetview)

Facing the wooden signpost at the Lane junction take the gravel track to the right and continue on as it curves round and enters Shatton Lane. Continue down Shatton Lane past the communications mast (Google Maps, Streetview starts here for Shatton Lane) enjoying the magnificent views to the north towards Kinder Scout, Win Hill Pike, Derwent Edge and a glimpse of Ladybower reservoir. Just after passing the sign on the right indicating ‘Restricted Byway Ahead’ the track changes to a metalled surface and a gate and stile is reached at a bend in the lane as it begins to descend towards Shatton. Pass through the gateway and follow the signed footpath over Offerton Moor emerging eventually at the road near Offerton Hall. (Google Maps, Streetview) Meander left down the hill past Offerton House and Offerton Hall until a gate on the right is reached marked with a Public Footpath post. Pass through the gate and follow the path as it drops down through a number of enclosed pastures until it meets the river Derwent close to the stepping-stones. Turn right and follow the path downstream through open pastureland negotiating numerous stiles along the way until reaching the starting point of the walk at Leadmill Bridge and the added attraction of a well-earned break at the nearby Plough Inn.

Start & Finish: Leadmill Bridge Grid Reference SK2380
Distance approx 11.5kms easy walking with diverse scenery and easy access by private or public transport.

Fellwalking: High Street

View of High Street from near Kidsty Pike

“High Street is in stature the most massive of the fells on the far east of Lakeland, in altitude exceeding all others in that company … yet despite these credentials, High Street is unassuming and unpretentious and so accommodating to travellers that the Roman surveyors and engineers, during their early invasions of this country, laid a road across its broad top for the movement of troops and supplies in preference to their usual practice of seeking routes through the mountain passes. This ancient highway, still to be seen, gave High Street its unusual name.”

Wainwright’s Favourite Lakeland Mountains

Another great day out in Lakeland, this time at its far eastern edge. We started at Mardale, leaving our car in the small carpark there. From the carpark a path curves around north-east to join the Rigg. From here it is almost due west straight up the ridge, over Rough Crag to eventually attain the summit ridge along which the Roman’s built their road. There are splendid views in all directions in good weather and a cairn marks the summit at 2718 ft.

The path soon leaves the old Roman Road to turn south-east to Mardale Ill Bell. Not long after it crosses a bridleway which could be  used to return to Mardale Head, but we continued on past Harter Fell to eventually join Gatesgarth Pass and then a moderate descent back to the start of the walk. The Haweswater Hotel, on the road out, provided a good spot to relax and have a beer.

My rating: A
Map: OL5 – The English Lakes: North Eastern Area (1:25,000)
Wainwright’s guides: The Far Eastern Fells (50th Anniversary Edition):Book Two (A Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells)

Coast to Coast Wrap-Up

A great walk. If you enjoy walking then this long distance path should definitely be on your list of walks to do.

Stages:
We did the walk over 13 days, breaking the Rosthwaite to Patterdale leg into two by staying at Grasmere, roughly the half-way point between the two and would certainly recommend doing this to allow more time to enjoy the Lake district section and try the alternative high-level routes.

Although tired after some of the longer days, I found the walk quite manageable over the 13 days. The stages we did were as follows (all distances are approximate only):

1. St. Bees to Ennerdale Bridge – 14 miles
2. Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwaite – 14.5 miles
3. Rosthwaite to Grasmere – 9 miles
4. Grasmere to Patterdale – 8.5 miles
5. Patterdale to Shap – 16 miles
6. Shap to Kirkby Stephen – 21 miles
7. Kirkby Stephen to Keld – 12 miles
8. Keld to Marrick – 15 miles
9. Marrick to Catterick Bridge – 10.5 miles
10. Catterick Bridge to Osmotherly – 21.5 miles
11. Osmotherly to Blakey Ridge – 19 miles
12. Blakey Ridge to Littlebeck – 17 miles
13. Littlebeck to Robin Hoods Bay – 12 miles

Getting there and away:
The walk traditionally starts at St Bees. Access to St Bees is pretty easy via train from Carlisle station which is on the West Coast Main Line – there are regular Virgin trains from London Euston to Carlisle. For example, during the week the 0958 from Euston will get you to St Bees at 1534 (with a 35 min wait at Carlisle); the 1113 will get you there at 1749 (but this requires a one hour wait at Carlisle).

If you are using a baggage service (as we did – see below) they may offer parking at a central point and transport to the start and from the end. Coast to Coast Packhorse offer parking at Kirkby Stephen and minibus transport to the start and finish points.

I had hired a car a week earlier so arranged a one-way hire (an extra ₤40), dropping off in Carlisle (I used National Car – I’ve used them a few times now with no complaints). The walk to the station from the garage was around 15 minutes.

Access to/from Robin Hoods Bay is a little more tricky if you are not using the services of Packhorse or equivalent. The nearest train stations are Scarborough or Whitby, both of which link to the East Coast Main Line. There’s a bus service, but it takes a while to make the trip. Probably the easiest option is to hire a mini-cab. We did this and got a lift into Scarborough (₤25) where we hired a car (I’d prefer to catch the train but the cost of one day car hire + petrol + one-way fee was less than two train tickets).

Accommodation:
This can be a bit tricky – some places do not have an over abundance of options, and the need to organise 12-15 consecutive nights, each in a different location, adds to the degree of difficulty. Nonetheless we met a few people on the trail who had organised their accommodation themselves without too many problems.

The other option, which we used as I didn’t particularly feel like trying to organise lodgings long-distance from Oz, is to use an accommodation booking service. I used the aforementioned Coast to Coast Packhorse, and have no complaints about the rooms they booked which were a good mixture of pubs/B&B’s, ranging from acceptable to excellent.

Of course, you can always camp – we met some walkers doing this, but as I didn’t camp I can’t really say much about how easy or hard it is to find acceptable campsites. Most of the walk is through cultivated land so wild camping is out of the question.

Baggage transfer:
Maybe I’m going soft as I get older, but the thought of humping a full rucksack for two weeks didn’t attract me at all. As a result, I arranged for our bags to be transferred each day, thus requiring only a day pack while walking.

Again we used Coast to Coast Packhorse and had a very good experience – they were quietly efficient and our bags were always at our lodgings when we arrived. Other options for both baggage transfer and accommodation booking are Sherpavan, Mickledore Travel, Contours Walking Holidays and Discovery Travel – I haven’t used any of these however, so can’t comment on their service.

Maps/Guidebooks:
I used the two maps from Harvey that cover the whole route and would recommend them. They were generally pretty good – although not up to Ordnance Survey map standards. This is a moot point though as the only other choice is to carry a case full of OS maps. They claim to be waterproof, but we didn’t get enough rain to test this out, and personally I’d carry a waterproof map case.

For the Lake District sections I also carried the two relevant OS maps (OL 4 and 5) as the extra detail offered is useful especially if you try the alternative high-level routes and/or are stuck in bad weather. They also provide a bit more context, if you have good weather and views and are wondering what you are looking at.

In addition to the maps we also carried the Trailblazer Coast to coast path guidebook by Harry Stedman. This was good for a bit of background as well as assisting in those places where the map wasn’t entirely clear (generally due to the scale of 1:40,000 being a bit too large for walkers – the OL 1:25,000 scale is much better). The hand drawn maps did leave a little to be desired in some instances (note we used an earlier edition – they may have improved in the latest edition).

The original guide by Wainwright is probably best for inspiration before you go and reflection after you return – the route information is going to be a bit dated now.

Gear:
Gear is very much a personal choice so for what it’s worth, I’ll simply list what I carried in my daypack, which was a Berghaus 64Zero, a very simple and light daypack:

* Beanie and/or sun-hat
* Gloves
* Thin long-sleeved top
* Windstopper Soft-Shell jacket (by Paddy Pallin – the current model is the Catalyst)
* Lightweight Gore-Tex waterproof jacket (Berghaus Extreme Light)
* Gore-tex waterproof over trousers (by Paddy Pallin)

In addition I carried a vacuum flask for a morning cuppa + water and food for lunch and some sunscreen. Round my neck was a Nikon D40 SLR camera fitted with Nikon’s superb 18-200mm DX VR lens.

All of this gear was used at some point during the walk. The soft-shell jacket and waterproof jacket were used quite frequently; the gloves got used once (up on Helvellyn).

I wore Brasher Supalite boots on days 2-5, the other days I wore a pair of Scarpa Enigma XCR shoes which also served as a pair of casual shoes for the rest of my holiday. I could have easily survived with just the Scarpa shoes, which come highly recommended. The extra ankle support and sturdiness of the Brasher boots was helpful during the Lakes sections but not essential for me – your mileage may vary.

I intend to write a bit more about the gear in future posts.

Coast to Coast day 13: Littlebeck to Robin Hood’s Bay

The final day! An easy walk through a wood then across the moors, with an early lunch at the Arnciffe Arms in Hawsker before a nice walk along the coast and then a steep descent down the cobblestone streets of Robin Hood’s Bay.

The first section goes through Littlebeck Wood and down to Falling Foss waterfall. The path then follows May Beck before a bit of road walking and then across the final moors of the walk to Hawsker. From here the path drops down through a caravan park to join the Cleveland Way on the cliffs above the North Sea. An enjoyable walk along the cliffs south to Robin Hood’s Bay completes the walk.

As expected, arriving at Robin Hood’s Bay was a bit of an anti-climax. But still, a great feeling of accomplishment and a terrific walk. Following tradition we stuck our boots in the sea, and I tossed in the pebble I’d carried from St Bees. We then retired for a truly well-earned beer.

(Total distance approx. 12 miles)

Link to Coast to Coast Summary

Coast to Coast day 12: Blakey to Littlebeck

Almost there…just two days to go. This was another pleasant if rather grey day, we got the first (and only) real rain for the entire walk, it bucketed down not long after we left Blakey Ridge.

The route starts with a bit of a road bash across the moors – there wasn’t much traffic thankfully – and then follows a vehicular track into Glaisdale. From here there was a very muddy section through East Arncliff Wood before entering Egton Bridge. A short walk then leads into Grosmont on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, with plenty of steam trains operating to keep both young and old enthusiasts happy.

A steep climb afterwards before levelling out and providing the first views of the east coast and north sea, with a fine prospect down towards Whitby. After this, a short walk downhill into Littlebeck. We didn’t go right down into the village as we were staying at Intake Farm, along with another seven c2c’ers making for a packed dining table that night.

(Total distance approx. 17 miles)

Link to Coast to Coast Summary